Story by: Norton Children’s on November 29, 2021
A distended abdomen in a baby is typically nothing to worry about — babies’ bellies tend to stick out, especially after eating.
“If your baby’s abdomen is swollen and hard and they haven’t moved their bowels for more than a day or two or there is vomiting, call your pediatrician,” said Tiffani Payne, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group – Okolona. “The issue is likely gas or constipation, but there could be something more serious happening.”
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If your baby is less than 6 months and constipated, call your pediatrician. A distended abdomen in a baby can be a sign of constipation, as can straining to pass a stool. If after a lot of work, the stool is soft, it likely isn’t constipation.
Ways to help a constipated baby older than 6 months include adding water or fruit juice to the feeding routine and choosing foods with good amounts of fiber for babies who have started solid food.
Sometimes taking your child’s temperature rectally will be enough stimulus to move the bowels.